A London Sniffathon with Tina G of APJ – Photo Essay

I was so excited to finally meet Tina G from Australian Perfume Junkies for the first time last weekend. We’ve been virtual friends for a while now – we were introduced by our mutual pal Portia – and I really like the way she writes about fragrance. Tina’s been travelling across Europe and I couldn’t wait for her to get to London

For our intensive tour of some of the city’s fragrant hot-spots, Tina made the decision to concentrate on perfumes not available back home in Sydney, which was very wise. Believe me when I say the following highlights only cover a fraction of what we tried.



Tina and I very happy to be together at Les Senteurs

First on our list was Les Senteurs where the lovely Murray spent ages filling us in on new-to-us brands.  Tina was drawn to the Tom Daxton display and we tested his new fresh floral, Magnolia Heights. I was keen to try the latest addition to Frederic Malle’s Editions des Parfums, Monsieur, which was not animalic the way I envisioned but a very suave patchouli.

Murray took us through Irish brand Cloon Keen Atelier from which Tina was intrigued by Castana which features the novel pairing of vetiver and chestnut, while I particularly enjoyed the bergamot tea of Infusion Assam.


Tina hadn’t seen French house Les Eaux Primordiales before so we tried all of those, out of which she loved Iris Palladium and almost went for a full bottle. The whole range was very well done, including a vetiver and rhubarb scent in Abstraction Raisonnee and a very natural, wearable lavender with blackberry in Moment Perpetuel.


Les Eaux Primordiales

Tina is a fan of minty notes so Murray suggested Geranium Pour Monsieur by Frederic Malle which she liked, but was most impressed by Menthe Fraiche from Heeley.


Murray and Tina

Tina liked Ambre Russe and Tabac Tabou from Parfum de Empire, the latter being a great hay/narcissus/tobacco scent (review to follow). I was very taken with Yuzu Fou. I rarely click with citrus fragrances but this is very concentrated with loads of depth.


After a meander through Marylebone we found Perfumer H, the new venture of Lyn Harris (of Miller Harris) which has been open for about 8 months now. The store smells of essential oils which is really lovely compared to the synthetic fug of mainstream fragrance shops. The very engaging Caroline told us about the Perfumer H concept. Lyn Harris is really going back to the craft, mixing up the fragrances in a small lab on the premises.


Caroline in the lab at Perfumer H

They release two collections a year containing five perfumes (each from a different fragrance family), one for Spring/Summer and one for Autumn/Winter. When they’re retired from the current collection they go into the Archive but are still available to purchase. I wear perfume in line with the seasons so this idea appealed to me.


The current collection of Cologne, Rain Cloud, Atlas, Leather and Musk

We tried the current collection (released in February) and were very impressed with all of them but particularly Atlas, Leather and Musk. On the other side of the room Caroline showed us the Laboratory Editions which are available to buy outright for your sole use (from £1,500) but until then, are available for sale as single bottles (from £140 for 100ml). So if you fall in love with one, you better start saving or stockpiling. From these we tried Ink, Smoke and a few others.


Tina in front of the Laboratory Editions

Tina tried four Perfumer H fragrances on skin – Leather, Velvet, Atlas and Musk. I liked the cottony iris of Musk the best and as It happened, this is the one she decided to buy. The hand blown blue bottles are gorgeous but you can buy the perfumes in ordinary bottles for a lot less, which is what Tina did as it’s better for transporting home.

Next on the list was Selfridges where we enjoyed salt beef sandwiches before hitting the fragrance floor. After a pit-stop at Chanel we went to the Dior fragrance boutique. Tina hadn’t seen Les Elixirs Precieux before so we sniffed all four (Oud, Rose, Musc and Ambre). They are concentrated oils for layering and Rose is stunning, but so is the price at £225 for 3ml.

I was eager to try Dior’s new Le Colle Noire from La Collection Privée because it’s also a rose. It’s very pretty but I couldn’t detect anything particularly exclusive about it and I like my roses with more depth. There were no samples available but to my and Tina’s amazement the SA offered to spray the lining of my leather jacket. Thanks but no thanks!




Dior La Collection Privée

Union sources its materials from around the UK and Tina had been impressed by her friend’s bottle of Celtic Fire so we went through the range of five fragrances. We liked Gunpowder Rose a lot and although tempted, Tina didn’t buy smoky Celtic Fire in the end. The heavy bottles were a factor.


Union at Selfridges

Tina spotted A Lab on Fire so we sampled a few of those – including What We Do in Paris is Secret – which were surprisingly mainstream in scent. I was also disappointed to find you couldn’t pull the trigger on the Moschino Fresh bottle but had to take off the top and use the bog standard sprayer. Shame.


Off to Covent Garden and Bloom next. Tina had been the first to tell me about British brand Beaufort and picked up a candle of 1805 Tonnerre for her friend back home. She tried all three fragrances in the line and admired Vi et Armis, which is way too much spicy smoke for me, though very striking.  Owner Oxsana kindly gave us a sneak preview of the forthcoming Beaufort release Lignum Vitae which is, to my surprise, a gourmand. We also tried a few from Turkish perfume house Nishane after which I got nose fatigue and left Tina to browse some more.


Tina at Bloom, Covent Garden


We finished off this fantastic day at Aqua Bar on the 32rd floor of The Shard where we met Mazz, a long-time friend of both Tina and Portia. I know Tina is partial to a cocktail and it’s hard to beat the views from here. I also love their Charcoal Cobbler cocktail which has charcoal sugar around the rim of the glass. I drank it rather too quickly and went home on the tube tired but merry.


The view!

Perfume is a lot of fun and meeting up with perfume friends like Tina is just the best.


The London weather did me proud!

Do you already love, or like the sound of, any of the perfumes mentioned here?











Do you already love, or like the sound of, any of the perfumes mentioned here?


Filed under Perfume Shopping

29 responses to “A London Sniffathon with Tina G of APJ – Photo Essay

  1. Tara, what an amazing day!! You’ve captured it all brilliantly and have had me giggling while reading. It was so much fun. Great to meet you, and thank you for being such a fabulous hostess.

    I’m so glad I picked up that Musk from Perfumer H. It is wonderful. And that guy wanting to spray your leather jacket ?!?!? Really? Just, no… Haha!

    Thanks again. xxxxx

    Tina G


    • Tina, you know I really enjoyed writing it up because it was like re-living it!
      Thanks to you I tried a lot of things that I would have passed by ordinarily. It’s fun to try something new, whether it’s love or not.

      Sharing the day with you was a joy.


  2. It sounds like you had a marvellous day. I tried some of the Nishane recently and really wanted to get to know them more, and as to WWDIPIS it sort of annoys me for being arty-farty and secret club, but as you say really just mainstream. And oh what a shame about the sprayer of Moschino.
    You’ve made me curious about infusion Assam, even if I’m probably more of a ‘builders brew’ than an infusion person 🙂


    • Honestly, we tried about 4 of the A Lab on Fire frags and they were all so run-of-the-mill. Interesting to hear your experience has been the same.
      I kept trying to pull the trigger of the Moschino bottle!
      With Infusion Assam, there is a definite fruity aspect so probably not so much of a builder’s brew 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh I say, you both packed such a lot in, I am full of admiration! And your clear summary of each perfume you tried gives me a good idea of what I might like from your comprehensive sniffage. notably Tabac Tabou and the new Diors. I think my brother has Yuzu Fou – I will ask him, as I might be able to snaffle a bit for you.

    Then you raise the important point about clunky bottles not being travel friendly – Lyn Harris is onto a good thing by offering an alternative, albeit not specifically for that reason – but it is a factor the perfume companies should be aware of as so many people pick up bottles on their holidays.

    I was thinking about Perfumery H generally, and wondered if this is to offset the slight ‘banalisation’, as the French say, of the Miller Harris brand, which fetches up routinely in T K Maxx now, plus she did that line for M & S. Do the scents feel more luxurious than MH? Also, it was interesting that she would retire a scent once a person decides to buy it outright for £1500. If my maths is right, that would mean she is assuming she would only sell another ten bottles or so ever, because otherwise it wouldn’t make sense to allow one customer to effectively take that scent off the market.

    Oh, and I chuckled at the Moschino bottle – I had no idea it looked like that!


  4. I admire greatly how many perfumes you tried, Tara and Tina!! How wonderful to meet someone after you have read their blog posts, enjoyed your photo essay Tara xo


  5. cookie queen

    What a superb write up. Blimey – how much stuff did you do? 225 quid for 3mls? The only advantage I see to that is having no problem carrying it my hand luggage. (I have heard amazingly good things about them though, and absolutely want try them , so we will have to do that.) Perfumer H sounds interesting too. Tina and I overdosed on caffeine, ran around the Festung Hohensalzburg (the castle) in the wrong direction, ate traditional sausages on the go, and ended up on a bench in the Mirabell Gardens. 🙂 I am having a manic spurt on Parfum d’Empire and Yuzu Fou will now be next. The fact that it is a citrus didn´t excite me but if you like it ……
    Oodles of love. xxxxx


    • The Dior Rose oil is enough to make me swoon. If money were no object I’d spring for a bottle in a heartbeat.
      I’d like to get your take on Yuzu Fou. It’s so full-bodied compared to most citrus frags.
      I would love to experience that day you had with Tina, except for the caffeine 🙂


  6. hey Tara,
    You two are like a fragrant double act. I can clearly imagine the chatter and banter, the excitement and everyone falling under both your spells and being putty in your hands.
    Love Parfum d’Empire and think they are not given nearly enough acclaim.
    Jealous much.
    Portia xx


    • We had a blast, Portia and you made it possible. It could only have been better if you were there.
      Yes, Parfums d’Empire is such a well done range with interesting yet wearable fragrances. So many winners in one line.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow, Tara, you two sniffed loads!! I’m particularly drawn to your descriptions of Abstraction Raisonnee and Tabac Tabou; I must try them sometime. Perfumer H line sounds worth a try too.
    I tried that quirky Moschino at the airport and I was also disappointed that the trigger was just a decoration. Shame. Like you, I kept trying to pull the trigger for a while… I thought the perfume itself was boring but, at least, it didn’t smell as bad as expected.


    • I bet everyone tries to pull the trigger on that Moschino! Yes, it’s not a bad fragrance, just bland. Especially compared to the bottle.

      It’s early days for Perfumer H but it sounds like they are working on a way to ship their scents abroad. They don’t yet have a sample set so fingers crossed they bring one out.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. What a day! I don’t know at least half of the brands you’ve mentioned but I would love to sniff them with a perfumista friend 😉

    I keep hearing about those Dior oils… I hope I’ll get to try them eventually: while I do not usually like oils, it’s just a perfect size 🙂


    • I hope we can do similar one day. Just wear walking shoes as poor Tina’s toes were bleeding when she got home.

      The Dior oils have a lot of depth so I imagine you only need a drop. They are the perfect size for us, but sheesh, the price!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Sandra

    What a great day Tara! Your list of perfumes sniffed is impressive and I would love to smell the Dior oils one day soon. Yuzu Fou is really great on a hot summer day. Sandra xo


    • Ah yes, I could just imagine how refreshing Yuzu Fou would be on a hot day. I’m very tempted.

      You must come to London so you can sniff the Dior oils 🙂


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